Deadline extended to find 2011 Laois Rose

DUE to popular demand, the closing date for entries for the Laois Rose has been extended until Friday, February 11.

DUE to popular demand, the closing date for entries for the Laois Rose has been extended until Friday, February 11.

"We've had a lot of interest this year, so I've decided to extend the closing date. We're looking for both Roses and Escorts again this year," orgainser Sharon Preston said.

Like last year, one Rose and one escort will be selected.

"Last year, we were lucky enough to be represented by Bernadette Ryan and our escort Andrew Monaghan. At this year's selection night we will once again select an escort who will go to the Escort Bootcamp and hopefully be selected for Tralee."

"I was thrilled that Bernadette was selected for Tralee - it put Laois back on the Rose map."

This year's selection, which will be held on Wednesday. March 16 is sponsored by the Leinster Express, Portlaoise Heritage Hotel and Bankz Hair and Beauty.

Brendan Hennessy will once again compere on the night.

"Bernadette was a great Rose and it was lovely to sit down in Tralee and watch the Laois sash come on stage. Amazing girls enter every year, and the standard is unbelievable again this year. I don't envy the judges," Sharon said.

The winning girl will represent Laois at the Rose of Tralee Regional Finals which will be held in Portlaoise for the third year over the June Bank Holiday weekend.

"It's great to have the Regional Finals here in Portlaoise and we're looking forward to hosting them again this year."

For the girls vying to become the next Laois Rose, they face of long day of preparation and interviews before the see the stage that night.

"Bankz Hair and Beauty will do the girls hair in the morning, they will then have their group and individual interviews before they go on stage with Brendan. The party pieces are optional, but I always get excited when I see something different. But there are no extra marks for it," Sharon explained.

The identity of the judges is kept secret until the day of adjudication.

Sharon explains: "The judges will be from outside and the county and will have a rose connection. Keeping the judges anonymous makes the competition fairer."

Tickets for the selection night will be available from The Portlaoise Heritage Hotel, priced €25.